The Arrest of Andrew Tate

Andrew Tate is the poster boy for toxic masculinity – why did he get so popular in 2022 and why was he arrested?

Andrew Tate, the self-styled King of Toxic Masculinity was arrested in Romania on 29th December 2022 and is currently in being held in jail pending possible charges for human trafficking, rape and forcing women into pornography against their will.

Tate subscribes to an incredibly toxic brand of masculinity which holds that men are superior to women, and the main markers of successful masculinity are how much wealth a man has and how successful men are with women. He also believes that ‘strength rules’ – the only valid arguments are those that can be won with violence, and he has no time for weaker or poorer men – he doesn’t believe that depression is real and regards anyone who is poorer than him as not worth knowing.

He has a stated preference for sleeping with teenagers because ‘he can leave more of a mark on them’, despite the fact that he his very critical of women who are sexually promiscuous.

He has a penchant for radical freedom and conspicuous consumption and it was the later that triggered his recent arrest.

He took it upon himself to troll Greta Thunberg on Twitter…. goading her about how many gas-guzzling cars he owned.

Great’s response was one of the most popular tweets in 2022 and promoted a video response from the egoist Tate in which he had Pizza delivered and asked that ‘they not be recycled’.

The only problem with that was the Romanian authorities managed to figure out where Tate was staying because of the brands on those Pizza boxes and within just a few hours his house was raided and he is now under arrest, along with his brother and two Romanian nationals for allegedly sex-trafficking women to Romania.

A hideous individual, finally brought down by his own arrogant ego, hopefully!

Who is Andrew Tate?

Andrew Tate was a relatively little known figure until August 2022 when he managed to gain huge visibility on social media thanks to an army of followers who edited and re-posted his content using his name as a hashtag, successfully gaming especially TikTok’s content-ranking algorithm.

He was born on an estate in Luton, so he is British, and is an ex kickboxer who won international titles, he is also a chess-master. He gained some notoriety in 2016 when he was booted out of Big Brother after video footage emerged of him beating a woman with the buckle of a belt – he claims it was consensual but we don’t know this for certain.

He earns his money mainly through online pornography. He ’employs’ mainly Eastern European women to do cam shows and he takes a cut, claiming that at its hight his ’empire’ consisted of 75 women in five locations brining in $500 000 a month.

He moved to Romania a few years ago claiming that 40% of the reason for this was that it was easier for him to evade rape charges in that country.

Andrew Tate’s Toxic Masculinity

Andrew Tate is an anti-feminist who consciously defines himself as a misogynist. He has previously stated in online content that women are men’s property, that women should be controlled by men and that women’s best defence against rape is to not put themselves in risky situations. He believes that women who go out and get drunk are themselves responsible for being raped.

He regards women as inferior to men in every respect, having stated that all they want to do is post pictures of themselves on instagram to gain attention, and has questioned why women are allowed to drive.

He thinks contemporary masculinity is threatened by women’s equality and the feminist movement and runs a web site called ‘Hustlers University’ which claims to help men be more successful in life, ‘helping’ them to earn more money and be more successful with beautiful women.

A lot of this so-called help involves encouraging men to themselves adopt his own brand of toxic-masculinity which means not accepting women’s equality with men and has men firmly in control of women, and he has even suggested than male violence against women is acceptable to keep them under male control.

Andrew Tate – Why is he so popular?

Tate has been peddling his toxic messages for several years and has been banned from Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

However, despite being cancelled he has become one of the most well-known social media influencers, with his popularity peaking in August 2022 when his name was searched more times than Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump.

There have been more than 12 billion views under his hashtag, TikTok being the platform guilty of giving him the most airtime.

Andrew Tate is popular because of at least three factors:

  1. He has encouraged his followers to edit and repost his videos using his name as a hashtag – effectively he created a trend storm which successfully gamified social media algorithms, especially on TikTok
  2. His content is presented in an entertaining way and it is shocking – so people tend to watch to the end, something which social media sites reward with higher rankings.
  3. Unlike with Pick up artist culture he has a broader appeal – he is talking al ALL men, whether they have jobs or are in relationships, not just the single unemployed ‘losers.
  4. He has become a kind of poster-boy for cancel-culture – despite being cancelled he has been invited onto chat shows and been the subject of newspaper articles, which has all helped to raise his profile, perversely.

The problem with Andrew Tate’s Toxic Masculinity

Tate talks about violence against women in such a flippant way that there’s a danger he’s helping to normalise violence against women.

And he’s not just anti-women – he is well networked with alt right – Alex Jones, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson, so his views align with their’s to an extent, and he’s a massive anti-environmentalist.

He basically has no social conscience at all.

Pretty much anyone under the age of 30 has heard of Andre-Tate, and he is very popular with young men, with teachers reporting increasing numbers of young boys mimicking him.

How to deal with Andrew Tate?

It’s impossible to ignore this guy as he is so visible on social media, but it’s also difficult to know how to deal with him.

A starting point would be to have more discussions around masculinity with young men, especially offline, because otherwise we are just leaving it to this guy and others like him to fill that void.

It’s also a wake up call about how little social media companies care about the content they display – yes he was cancelled, at least formally, but this didn’t stop him being able to game the search algorithms to remain one of the most visible and toxic personalities of 2022.

Relevance to A-level sociology

This material is most relevant to Feminism as part of A-level sociology – it reminds us that Feminism still has a lot to guard against.

It is also relevant to the sociology of the media, in terms of the power of spamming to keep even cancelled content visible.

If you want to find out more I recommend this Guardian Podcast.

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